Sweet Solstice on Paikes Street is just one of the 350 businesses that have benefited from investment via the North East Fund.
Owner Autumn Rabbitts secured a £24,500 North East Small Loan Fund investment to expand her home-based bespoke cake-making business, Plumb and Rabbitts Cake Studio, to establish Sweet Solstice, a magical witch-themed town centre bakery.
She said: “This investment has made it possible for me to take my business in a new direction much faster than I could have done it alone.
"From the moment that I was referred to NEL Fund Managers things moved really quickly. I already had my business plan in place and so it was only a matter of weeks before I had the funding and Sweet Solstice was born.
"I already have one member of staff, with another one starting in May. I would advise any North East small business owner with dreams of expansion to look into the North East Fund.”
The £80m provided by the North East Fund has helped companies secure a further £140m from other investors and funders.
The North East Fund plans to invest a further £40m in at least 150 more companies over the next two years and is calling for businesses to get in touch to discuss their working capital requirements and growth plans.
James Holloway, external engagement officer for the North East Fund, said: “Many business owners have fantastic ideas that require funding but might not know what is available, or how to present those ideas in a structured plan.
"We work with businesses to better understand the various options open to them. We can explain how debt or equity funding from the North East Fund might work for them, as well as how to pull in funding and support from other sources.
"We help them build a full package of support and provide guidance on completing their funding applications – all on a free, confidential and no obligation basis.”
Businesses who are interested in discussing funding should contact James Holloway or Andrew Gibson on 0191 211 2300 or via email at [email protected]. Further information can be found at www.northeastfund.org